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von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#1
I've been wanting to build my own guitar for a long time. However, I didn't really want to jump right in with a full build, so I thought I'd start with a refurb. Obviously all my own guitars are far too precious for me to start hacking about with, so I've had my eye out for a cheap donor guitar that I don't mind making a complete pig's ear of.

This has taken quite a while because ideally I was after something with a single pickup - I rarely use the neck pickup so I starting from a base like this means less holes to fill. Anyway, last night I finally picked this up.



Now the full project plan is to strip it down, reface it with some nice looking wood and upgrade all the hardware and electronics. Pretty much everything I'd expect to have to do for a full build, but without having to worry about jigs and templates and stuff.

The problem I have now is this: This guitar is a Marlin SL200G and they don't make them any more. It's not like it was a ever a pricey guitar, it's not a classic and it certainly doesn't seem to be a collectors' item (I only shelled out 40 notes for it), but at the same time there aren't many of them about so I do feel a little guilty about destroying it. Maybe I should've waited for a crappy old Gio or something to turn up.
itamar100
Banned
Join date: May 2011
950 IQ
#2
Nah, there are a shitload of crappy discontinued guitars out there. You'll be much happier making it into an awesome guitar with your own custom specs than having a crap guitar that you'll never play and will only use to tell noobs about how this is limited edition or something.
mark_wuk
Comfortably Numb
Join date: Nov 2006
377 IQ
#3
I have a really old marlin sharks fin guitar which I occassionally use as a photography prop - they were really bottom of the range guitars, although yours looks a looks a lot more useable so just go for it.

I'd go for it, but don't sink too much money in with quality parts and the like, as the end result probably won't be outstanding, given what you are starting with.
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#4
Quote by itamar100
Nah, there are a shitload of crappy discontinued guitars out there. You'll be much happier making it into an awesome guitar with your own custom specs than having a crap guitar that you'll never play and will only use to tell noobs about how this is limited edition or something.


Yeah. Actually I tend to agree.

There will now likely be something of a hiatus in the project while I find some decent top wood. But I'm sure I'll be back with more pictures and dumb questions about glue, grain filler and clear coat.
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#5
Quote by mark_wuk
I'd go for it, but don't sink too much money in with quality parts and the like, as the end result probably won't be outstanding, given what you are starting with.

I'm budgeting maybe another £50 - £100 as a learning experience. I've thrashed it around for about an hour and it actually plays quite nicely.

Plus I'm one of those heathens who figures that with the amount of FX I'm usually running, what the guitar's made of is probably having a minimal impact.

*sits back and awaits ensuing pandemonium*
itamar100
Banned
Join date: May 2011
950 IQ
#6
have you thought about putting in a p90 sized humbucker? that could be quite cool for a single pickup. or what about a 4 conducter humbucker and a coil tap function. it could be awesome to mess aroud with
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#7
Quote by itamar100
have you thought about putting in a p90 sized humbucker? that could be quite cool for a single pickup. or what about a 4 conducter humbucker and a coil tap function. it could be awesome to mess aroud with

I fancied giving one of these a go: http://www.axetec.co.uk/axetec%20guitar%20parts%20spares%20pickups_075.htm - they're well written up and pretty cheap.

However, in terms of wiring I was going for monster simple. I rarely vary my sound at all so I was actually thinking of having nothing but a volume pot on it. Of course, I could always rewire at a later date if I find I'm missing flexibility; or I want to try and learn something new.
itamar100
Banned
Join date: May 2011
950 IQ
#8
Quote by von Layzonfon
I fancied giving one of these a go: http://www.axetec.co.uk/axetec%20guitar%20parts%20spares%20pickups_075.htm - they're well written up and pretty cheap.

However, in terms of wiring I was going for monster simple. I rarely vary my sound at all so I was actually thinking of having nothing but a volume pot on it. Of course, I could always rewire at a later date if I find I'm missing flexibility; or I want to try and learn something new.


never heard of them but the look sick.
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#9
Today's lesson: Nitromors* does absolutely nothing to a twenty-year-old, budget paint job.

* Other chemical paint strippers are available.
Leon987
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2009
387 IQ
#10
will you only upgrade stuff, i dont know about you but IMO the headstock looks horrific, i would try to reshapen it to something nicer
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#11
Quote by Leon987
will you only upgrade stuff, i dont know about you but IMO the headstock looks horrific, i would try to reshapen it to something nicer

Oh I completely agree. Trouble is, it's not as big as it looks so there's not much room for change. But I'm pretty sure I'll be trying to do something with it.
IronMaiden76
UG's Krabby Patty
Join date: May 2009
2,300 IQ
#12
look at GFS pickups fer sure
Call me Chris
Quote by jimihendrix6699
had a blast until the person in front of me whipped out his dick and started pissing all over the floor..

Ducks and guitars or fish and guitars. I lead a simple existence
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#14
Quote by IronMaiden76
look at GFS pickups fer sure

Thanks. I'll bear them in mind for my next one. I've always wanted a set of rails; I think they just look cool.
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#15
Quote by inkandlead
That flat edge on the bottom of the headstock is begging to have a piece of wood glued onto it so you can make it look more attractive.

Yeah, that thought crossed my mind last night, although then there's a very real possibility it'll end up looking like an Ibanez stock because, well, I like them. :P
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#17
The sanding's coming along quite nicely. It will come as no surprise to anyone to learn that I've got my hands on a rather sexy lump of plywood.



BUT before anyone starts suggesting I throw it on the fire, I'd like you to take a look at this: http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/SG/Gibson-USA/SG-Zoot-Suit.aspx

(Apologies for the lousy pics BTW. My decent camera's elsewhere.)
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#18
Quote by CrazyPigeon
I have an old Marlin. It has scalloped frets which is quite obscure.

I very nearly got a Marlin as my first electric back in 1986 but I opted for a 2nd-hand Westone Thunder I-A for the same price. I still have it and it's still a monster (when I can afford to feed it batteries).
RebuildIt
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2011
254 IQ
#19
I see nothing wrong with plywood. One of my guitars has a plywood fret board, that was a surprise.
da_
Registered User
Join date: Mar 2008
1,068 IQ
#20
I have a Kramer Striker which is made of plywood, and it sounds better then both my other guitars that has solid wood bodys. And thats with a cheap pickup too. Plus its lighter. But then again, I've herad very bad sounding plywood guitars, like most people expect. I think you just have to get a pickup that works well with the wood and I think I got lucky with my cheap pickup.
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#21
I've got no problems with ply either. I firmly believe that 98% of the sound of an electric guitar is down to the electrics (No! Surely not!).

Talking of which, I'd best get my new bits ordered. Although I suspect I'm going to be waiting a loooong time for some top wood to turn up.
Darkdevil725
UG Freak
Join date: Jun 2008
1,248 IQ
#22
I had a first act that sounded amazing and it was plywood. Traded it off for a bass and kind of wish I didn't cause now I need a new strat.
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#23
Hmm. Now it's stripped, I'm not finding the headstock too offensive. Maybe just a slight modification, as per the photoshopped inset.

rocknroll93
Warning: Small Parts
Join date: Nov 2007
501 IQ
#24
plywood is actually pretty good. Ive had several plywood guitars, and all have sounded sweet.
Quote by element4433
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Quote by Roc8995
No.


Well, technically it could be done, but only in the same way that you could change a cat into a hamburger. It's an unpleasant process, and nobody is happy with the result.
GABarrie
Call me Gordon
Join date: May 2011
1,073 IQ
#25
Plywood isn't a bad wood... what goes in to it can be though. The reason you can have awesome sounding plywood guitars and crap sounding plywood guitars is because some plywood is designed to be put up as walls, and some of it was meant to be built into furniture, no-one cares about what goes into construction ply and it's subsequently cheap, hence crap sound. Furniture ply like Birch plywood is designed to look nice from every angle and has some good quality wood going into it, but it doesn't come cheap.
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zenbone
King of two things...
Join date: Jun 2011
1,385 IQ
#26
Quote by von Layzonfon
I've got no problems with ply either. I firmly believe that 98% of the sound of an electric guitar is down to the electrics (No! Surely not!).

Talking of which, I'd best get my new bits ordered. Although I suspect I'm going to be waiting a loooong time for some top wood to turn up.


+1
Quote by BlackVoid
Every guitar and bass forum I've visited has some people chasing some magical tone that will shoot jizzing unicorns riding on a rainbow out of their amp.
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#27
Parts have arrived.



Along with sundry other screws and stuff. Ordered variously from http://www.axetec.co.uk/ and http://www.axesrus.co.uk/
I'm sure I'll've forgotten something or other.

Now it looks like I'm just waiting for wood, which is most frustrating.*

* That's what she said.
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#29
Quote by JCGGUITARS
kewl parts!


Yeah. It's like you could ask yourself how much more black could they be? And the answer would be, none. None more black.

I also seem to have been sent locking tuners rather than the standard ones I ordered.

Oh. Jack plate. I knew there'd be something.
RebuildIt
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2011
254 IQ
#34
+1 for the Black. Did you say what colour the repainting would be? I scanned quickly but I can't see it.
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#35
Quote by RebuildIt
+1 for the Black. Did you say what colour the repainting would be? I scanned quickly but I can't see it.


I'm not currently planning on repainting. I've got some nice top wood on the way now, and I was planning to let the ply show and be proud of it. I may give it a bit of stain to more closely match the top wood if it needs it.
LeviMan_2001
Registered User
Join date: Mar 2008
1,782 IQ
#36
If you're going to rock the ply then either keep sanding or just do a clear sealer (no stain) because I can see right now you still have factory sealer on there (essentially clear primer). Also, I approve of rockin the ply! It looks like some nice void free plywood you have.
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#37
Quote by LeviMan_2001
If you're going to rock the ply then either keep sanding or just do a clear sealer (no stain) because I can see right now you still have factory sealer on there (essentially clear primer). Also, I approve of rockin the ply! It looks like some nice void free plywood you have.

That's very perceptive of you. Thanks for the tip.
But yes, I have continued to sand and sand and sand to make sure all that sealer's gone. Plus I'm intending to take the top couple of plies off anyway, to allow for the extra thickness the new top will present.
I tell you one thing: the finish on this particular Marlin was bullet-proof!
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#38
Quote by Way Cool JR.
Your probably going to realy have to do some work to be able to mount that bridge since it's not the right kind, more than likely you will have to fill the cavity. Personally I would put a top mount Floyd on there and put a Kahler style locking nut behind the regular nut. Also leave the headstock the same it looks nice as is IMO, the mockup you did looks terrible.

Yep. The trem cavity is being filled - both my Ibanez's and my cheapo HB7 have (licensed) Floyds on them, which I hardly use. I want this to be a hard-tail. So yeah, it's getting fully blocked up so I can go string-through.
And I'm definitely coming around to liking the headstock, so it'll likely stay as it is.
ORCRiST
Up the Irons!
Join date: Jul 2011
10 IQ
#39
Quote by von Layzonfon
Yep. The trem cavity is being filled - both my Ibanez's and my cheapo HB7 have (licensed) Floyds on them, which I hardly use. I want this to be a hard-tail. So yeah, it's getting fully blocked up so I can go string-through.
And I'm definitely coming around to liking the headstock, so it'll likely stay as it is.


Right on man. I was saying to myself, "the headstock IS pointy... but it's also pretty damn cool..." Glad to hear your going the leave it as it is!
von Layzonfon
UG's Grammar Stickler
Join date: Dec 2010
1,214 IQ
#40
A bit of a lesson in hand tools today. To be fair, I already knew it but I don't have an extensively equipped wood shop so I have to make do.

Anyway, the holes in the headstock were too small for my new machine heads so I had to make them bigger. A pillar drill and a firmly clamped workpiece would be the ideal because when you try and do it with a hand drill this happens.



Fortunately the bushes will cover it up so it's not a problem. And by drilling into a piece of scrap underneath the exit holes are much cleaner.

So, if you have to enlarge holes by hand and the finish is important, drill from the side that matters the least. If both sides need to be perfect, find a pillar drill.